By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – Mending fences earned Boy Scout Christopher Watson, 18, of Allen Park his Eagle Scout rank, for coordinating the repair and repainting of a 400-foot wooden fence for a local church.
The project, done for Transfiguration Lutheran Church, now known as New Wine Community Church, 8250 Pardee, in Taylor, involved replacing broken wooden fence pickets, repairing others, and painting the entire length of the 6-foot high, 400-foot long structure. To complete the project, 29 volunteers, including other Scouts and family members, logged at total of 179.5 hours over two days. The church supplied money for the materials.
Watson said they tallied and measured the broken pickets in advance, but used more paint than anticipated because the dry wooden fence absorbed the paint as it was applied.
In addition to leading and completing a project, Eagle Scouts must earn 21 badges, 13 of which are required. Watson earned 58 badges, of which his favorites were Swimming, which led to him join his school swim team, and Lifesaving, which he hopes leads to a job this summer.
Watson’s mother, Kelly, said his Eagle Scout Court of Honor was a proud moment, and she appreciates the supportive Scout family that brought him to this point.
She said her memories include packing his bag for camp, the soggy clothes he would bring home, and the many badges he worked on.
Kelly Watson said her son finished his actual Eagle project Aug. 23 and 24, 2014, but then had to earn several required merit badges, complete all of the paperwork, and have his Eagle Board of Review.
She said she would encourage other parents to involve their sons in Scouting.
“It’s a fun learning experience, it’s a fun family thing, with bonding among the boys,” Kelly Watson said. “It’s like a brotherhood for the boys.”
The current Scoutmaster of Troop 1061, Jennifer Siegel, who assumed the role in January, said Christopher Watson is her first Eagle Scout, and she is looking forward to her son, who is currently at the Star rank, becoming an Eagle Scout someday as well.
Star is above First Class, and below Life Scout, and is the third highest rank in Boy Scouting.
Siegel said Watson’s Eagle project is about more than repairing and painting a fence – it’s about taking initiative and planning.
“It’s the leadership – the boy himself is not allowed to physically do any of the work,” Siegel said. “He has to coordinate, he has to get permission, he has to do the whole project from start to finish without actually touching it.”
Siegel said Eagle Scouts learn to deal with the issues that arise during the course of their project, as well as be able to direct the volunteers.
She said Eagle Project paperwork fills a workbook, and the input of multiple people is needed for its completion, including the beneficiaries and district Scout personnel, as well as National Boy Scout officials, for approval.
Siegel said being an Eagle Scout is recognized as a high achievement, and will help the recipients when they interview for jobs.
“I am proud to see yet another Eagle Scout come through our troop,” Siegel said.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])